Oooh, I’d like that! Maybe you can write me an answer and we’ll cover the cultural bridge or something. ;)
Ah well. Hayffie. Let me start by saying that there are quite a lot of Hayffie scenarios that I can picture. I’m a rare pairings fans; I can picture pretty much everything. It’s just that the shippers don’t seem interested in those, or I haven’t dared venture deeply enough into the world of Hayffie fluff to find them.
To start with the easiest, Haymitch mocks Effie’s intelligence, and I firmly believe that any woman deserves better than a man who thinks she’s stupid, no matter the circumstances. Effie can do better than that. And I say that as the biggest Haymitch fan. I don’t care if he comes to realize that Effie is in actuality Nobel Prize material under her golden wig. He started out thinking she’s stupid, he’s out of the competition for life.
Much more importantly than that, though, Haymitch/Effie are a terrible idea because Effie actively and enthusiastically participates in the systematic genocide of Haymitch’s people. We don’t know much about Effie’s background, but it is safe to say that she chose to be an escort freely. It’s clearly a career choice and her career is very important to her. So she fought very hard to be allowed to escort little helpless children to their death. Haymitch once was one of those children, probably before Effie’s time, but it doesn’t matter. Effie doesn’t just accept that the genocide is happening and that’s how the world works, like most of the people in the Capitol do. She does more than that. She actively supports the system. In other words - and I never use that comparison lightly - she’s not just a Nazi in this situation, she’s the frigging SS officer stationed in the labor camp.
Haymitch was once severely traumatized when he was forced to fight to the death in the arena. We know this. We know that he is re-traumatized, every year, by being forced to mentor and being an active part of the same oppressive system that has traumatized him to begin with. Effie is a part of that system. An active, voluntary part. She’s a part of his trauma. From a psychological standpoint alone, this relationship is doomed. How could he not project any feelings he has about the system onto her? And why shouldn’t he, for that matter? From an ethical standpoint - why in the world would Haymitch be even remotely interested in a relationship with that kind of woman? He has twelve districts to choose from, full of people who all don’t have that baggage. Even dating a Capitol citizen who never worked in the Games industry would mean dating a person who has less responsibility for the crimes committed against him than Effie.
Now, we don’t know in how far Effie was involved in the rebellion. You could argue back and forth about how much involvement would redeem her both in the audience’s and in Haymitch’s eyes. (definitely a fic I would read!) What we know is that Effie changed her outlook on the Games once she started seeing Kat and Peeta as people. Now, I’m not terribly impressed by that. I would want a partner who doesn’t have to realize that, but knows that these children are people to begin with. I’d also want a partner who’s able to look at the losers as people, not just the winners. And so would Haymitch, I’m pretty damn sure. Effie starting to see Kat as a person doesn’t at all imply that Effie started understanding the ethical ramifications of what she participated in. Not once in the books did I get a feeling that Effie realized that she’s basically a mass-murderer by association. (now here is a fic I would read but again, I don’t get a sense that those fics get written.) Does the Capitol imprisonment / torture make up for her crimes? You know what, it really doesn’t. One bad thing happening to you doesn’t make up for other bad things that you have done. It just doesn’t.
I think that there are plenty ways for Effie to redeem herself in fic. But I don’t think that there are any ways she could do so that would enable her and Haymitch to have a healthy relationship. Some people seem to assume that they have a shared experience in common, but they don’t. Effie’s experience is that of a woman working in the profession she chose, in a time when things get tight. Haymitch’s experience is that of a slave in an oppressive system that keeps forcing him to relive his trauma until he manages to create a successor who can take his place.
While the Games are still on, the power dynamics of that relationship alone are creepy as fuck. Depending on your interpretation of the world of Panem, I’m not even sure Haymitch would feel like he was allowed to say no to Effie. After the rebellion, Haymitch still has massive baggage - he isn’t at all starting to heal, as we can see from how he doesn’t even consider sobering up. Effie’s presence alone could easily become a trigger. Effie would be dealing with her own trauma at that point and probably wouldn’t be in a state to deal with her responsibility and guilt rationally and logically. But she would have to do that before dating or even befriending Haymitch.
So there are ways out of those issues, obviously, there are plenty of stories that could be written to tackle and resolve those problems. Unfortunately, I get more of a feeling from the Hayffie tag, that people are blind to all these issues and they want to stay blind. It’s mind-boggling to me that there isn’t even an awareness of these problems. Nothing wrong with shipping any pairing, of course. It just feels to me that the Haymitch and Effie from the Hayffie tag are completely removed from the dystopian world that they’re supposed to live in.
So that was a very long reply to a very short question. :) It’s an involved topic, though. I wanted to give it the attention it deserved.
I always ruled out Hayffie as a simple personality clash - too drunk to care (and wrecked by what drove him to drink) versus obsessed with polished behavior. I always saw Effie (and some other Capitolites such as Caesar Flickerman) as good people in a bad system.
Yeah, I don’t care for OOC shipping in general.
The Capitol kills some District people in the Games and by other methods, and does plenty of other horrible things, but doesn’t start killing them en masse until it was attempting to control rebellion, so I don’t buy into the genocide analogy.